Smithsburg woman devotes time to promoting senior citizens' rights

July 21, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

Editor's note: Shirley Aurand is one of many people in the Tri-State area who are making a difference in their communities. To read about more of them, go to Making a Difference 2008.

SMITHSBURG - For the first half of her life, the extent of Shirley Aurand's community service was helping out as a Little League mother.

Now, at 73, not a day goes by that she isn't working on behalf of someone else.

"I finally woke up," Aurand said when asked what had changed. "You can't just sit back, you gotta get involved and put in the effort to get things accomplished."

Aurand divides her time between several organizations, most of which advocate for the rights of senior citizens.

Among the groups to which she devotes her time is the National Active and Retired Federal Employees, or NARFE.

The group was founded in 1921 "to protect and improve the retirement benefits of federal retirees, employees and their families," according to its Web site.


For the past four years, Aurand has served on NARFE's local state legislature committee, which lobbies the Maryland General Assembly to pass bills that will help seniors.

She regularly attends bill hearings in Annapolis and has testified before the legislature.

She is a former president of NARFE's local chapter and has been vice president of the group's local chapter since June.

Aurand also is vice president of the local Seniors and Law Enforcement Together, or SALT, Council.

With SALT, Aurand and other members visit local nursing homes once a month to meet with residents and "get a general idea that the homes are doing what they're supposed to be doing."

She also is on the board of the local chapter of the AARP.

And if that isn't enough, Aurand got involved with local politics when she was asked to join the Smithsburg Town Council in 2003 to fill the term of another council member.

She was elected to a four-year term on the council in 2004 and was re-elected in May.

"I've lived in town for 35 years and just thought, 'it's about time to get involved in town business,'" Aurand said.

She said she has learned a lot about how a town is run since joining the council.

Her goal is to keep growth to a minimum.

"I'm not against it, but I don't want to see it impacting our roads, schools and water and sewer, and the uniqueness of our town," Aurand said.

For all her work, Aurand was honored last October with induction into the Maryland Seniors Hall of Fame.

She was the only person from Washington County to be inducted last year.

"It was very, very nice. I was very surprised and very honored," Aurand said.

Aurand is a South Carolina native who came to Smithsburg by way of Baltimore and Myersville, Md., as her husband changed jobs.

Her early career was in secretarial work, but she took a job at Smithsburg Post Office in 1973 and stayed there until 1997, when she retired.

Aurand has three sons and one daughter, as well as several stepchildren. She also has 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Q and A with Shirley Aurand

Name: Shirley Aurand

Hometown: Smithsburg

Occupation: Retired

What is your proudest moment? "When my children were born."

Who do you most admire, and why? "My parents. They taught me, even though I was an only child, not to be selfish, to think of others, to respect my elders and to always be honest."

What is the best piece of advice you ever received, and who gave it to you? "To be true to myself. I have no idea where I got it from, but it's the best advice I've ever seen."

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